Thursday, December 06, 2007

Last Hunting Day in France...

As usual, please click on these pictures- they have lots of detail in the larger versions.

The next day, stags at another forest. This was the pack that got me premonia last year in the mighty Oise. This time we met some distance away, in a somewhat rougher forest. The day was clear and warm, and the people very welcoming and friendly as they had been last time.
Even the ones who recognized me. R and F riding again, on rougher looking horses than day before yesterday.

Last year, I recall the huntsman telling me that they had several D&S hounds. I told him I could tell which ones, and pointed to several. “’ow did you know?”

I just pointed to the ones with one eye, or an ear off, missing teeth.The French hounds were all preeeeetty, ours looked like they had been in a lifetime of bar fights.

So on that day, they had been cussing and swearing at “Mascot”, a D&S transfer. At the meet this time, whose name do I hear?”

“Arrrrette, MASCOT!” He must hunt like crazy.

Off we went, I was in a car with three generations- grandfather, son, and grandson, all chasse followers. The youngest was even named Hubert!

They drew a recently cut area first.

I had a bit of excitement when a stag jumped from cover so close that he spattered mud on me! Not a huntable one though, too small. Then they picked up and moved, and I saw te only western style rider on the trip.

Moved on, to find in another block of forest. This one was less well maintained and parklike than Compiegne, and far hillier. The first stag was too small, a “dague”, what we call a pricket. Then they jumped a foursome- a good stag and three prickets. And, off! Hounds ran off and on, but they could not really hold tightly. One run was longish and fast, in a big loop. But it petered out, to be followed by long draws.

Some of the hunters were not so thrilled.

French hunters don't drink while out like we and the English do. But smokes were snuck.

It was an awfully pretty day.

Clearly there was not much scent, and hounds soon couldn’t cope. There was one point where a hid and calf crossed a hill side only a minute or two before hounds drew the same spot- not even a head down.

The huntsman tried hard, but had no luck. They overran a baby boar, which apparently does happen. After the self serve pork chop lunch, they did very little. Again not for want of trying by the huntsman, who really did make an effort. You can see from these pictures the sort of country with which he had to contend.

There was some confusion when he had to pick up hounds and move in response to viewings of deer in other places, too.

Then about three thirty it came on cool, and they struck. A quick run through the woods and toward a village, but again scent failed.

They kept trying, though. The run died out at the edge of some broad water meadows, a lovely end to the day.

Still a beautiful and interesting day.

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